The city of Cologne, on the bank of the river Rhine, has designated a downtown street as a “Climate Street”, and it is expected to act as a living lab which will test climate-friendly technologies and make the flow of traffic more efficient. This initiative is run by the city together with the electricity company RheinEnergie.
A funding of €15 million from the EC’s Horizon 2020 programme along with €17 million from the Estonian Government was obtained for Smart City Research in Helsinki and Tallinn. This will enable R&D teams to test and implement smart city strategies with the eventual goal of creating cross-border smart city initiatives along the EU.
While a lot of buzz in smart cities is about the impressive, cutting-edge technology, the crucial component which makes them smart should be the emphasis on their citizens. The technology should be invisible, seamlessly embedded in the environment to serve real human needs. If the sole focus of a smart city is the technology, then the project is doomed to fail.
Universities around the world, with the US leading the way, are taking notice of smart city developments and applying many of the same solutions. University campuses are ideal for this, as, in effect, they are mini metropolises of their own, with their own shops, roads, transport, residences, banks, and tens of thousands of visitors every day.
The cutting edge technological innovations which make smart cities what they are require sizeable economic investments on behalf of the city, region or country. As with all investments, if smart city initiatives do not return any tangible value, they represent money going down the drain. With the way economies work, technological development or benefits to citizens might not be enough to sustain the continuous advancement of smart cities if they come at a great financial loss. Fortunately, the successful implementation of smart city initiatives comes with many economic benefits.
The aim of this book is to promote discussion and critical thinking on the urban environment at the intersection of neighborhood and the city from an interdisciplinary and multidimensional perspective, encompassing their socio-spatial relations. It is the third volume of the Culture & Territory Series produced by the CyberParks Project.
The many Smart City initiatives being designed and implemented in municipalities across the world give rise to the question of how the changes brought about by this new technology can be efficiently managed, especially in terms of security. This is a relevant question for all technological fields, but even more so in the case of Smart Cities.